6 Tips for Better Time Management for Office Administrators

October 19, 2021

Author: Staples Professional Inc.

Office administrators generally have a lot on their plates, and with many employees now shifting back to working at the office or using a hybrid work model, managing it all can be a challenge. Effective time management strategies can help decrease stress and increase productivity during the busy back-to-office period.

Master the art of prioritizing

When your to-do list is long in the morning, tackle tasks in order of importance. “Our tendency is to get the easy stuff completed [first],” says Charmaine Hammond, professional speaker, author and consultant on conflict resolution in the workplace. “The challenge is that once meetings begin, priority items are left unhandled and you have to deal with them at the end of the day.” Hammond recommends the “4 D” method to deal with emails: do it, delete it, defer it (with reminder to revisit), or delegate it.

 To end the workday on a productive note, take 15 minutes to create a to-do list for the following day. This process can help alleviate stress once you leave the office or close your laptop for the evening.

Schedule time between meetings to complete tasks

While it’s tempting to book continual meetings during busy periods, ensure that you schedule time into each day to handle other work, including responding to emails and phone calls. “Many administrators find themselves in back-to-back meetings online or in person, leaving no time to handle their other responsibilities,” says Hammond.

One task at a time

Busy admins tend to multitask when faced with numerous priorities, but it’s often better to fully complete one task before moving on to the next. “We tend to multitask when we feel overwhelmed or challenged by competing demands,” says Hammond. “While we think we are being productive, this often leaves us with many half-finished documents or tasks at the end of the day.”

Use your tools

“As we return to office, we need to leverage the advantages of working in person when it comes to collaboration and organization,” says Maggie Clark, Senior Manager, LOB Strategy Business Essentials at Staples Professional. Clark recommends making use of organizational materials like a large-format wall calendar, colour-coded Post-It notes, and dry erase products such as the Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Desktop Computer Pad or the Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Note Pad.

Make space for breaks

Taking a breather during busy periods may feel counterintuitive, but breaks are essential for regaining focus. “They’re also a way of managing stress and some of the emotional ‘drama’ we sometimes experience or are witness to in the workplace,” says Hammond. A five-minute walk without checking emails, a coffee break in fresh air, or lunch away from the computer can make a world of difference in terms of energy, resilience, and productivity.

Practice flexible thinking when ordering supplies

With many employees still working from home or using a hybrid working model, it can be challenging to order and purchase office supplies. This process might look different now than in the past, says Hammond, and office admins should shift accordingly. “Some purchasers are finding that they need to change their strategy to be more short-term and focused on the rapidly changing workplace,” Hammond says. “Keeping in touch with leaders around current and projected needs is a strategy that can help you make your best buying decisions.” If you’re still in the process of making purchases to support the shift to hybrid, Clark suggests stocking up on items like pens, markers, notebooks and Post-It notes so that everyone has their own products that they can carry to meetings and stay organized.

The hybrid model might come with its initial complications, but mastering time management can aid in ensuring a successful transition back to office.

Learn how Staples Professional’s Premium Membership program can help you save time, money and streamline your ordering.Office administrators generally have a lot on their plates, and with many employees now shifting back to working at the office or using a hybrid work model, managing it all can be a challenge. Effective time management strategies can help decrease stress and increase productivity during the busy back-to-office period.

Master the art of prioritizing

When your to-do list is long in the morning, tackle tasks in order of importance. “Our tendency is to get the easy stuff completed [first],” says Charmaine Hammond, professional speaker, author and consultant on conflict resolution in the workplace. “The challenge is that once meetings begin, priority items are left unhandled and you have to deal with them at the end of the day.” Hammond recommends the “4 D” method to deal with emails: do it, delete it, defer it (with reminder to revisit), or delegate it.

 To end the workday on a productive note, take 15 minutes to create a to-do list for the following day. This process can help alleviate stress once you leave the office or close your laptop for the evening.

Schedule time between meetings to complete tasks

While it’s tempting to book continual meetings during busy periods, ensure that you schedule time into each day to handle other work, including responding to emails and phone calls. “Many administrators find themselves in back-to-back meetings online or in person, leaving no time to handle their other responsibilities,” says Hammond.

One task at a time

Busy admins tend to multitask when faced with numerous priorities, but it’s often better to fully complete one task before moving on to the next. “We tend to multitask when we feel overwhelmed or challenged by competing demands,” says Hammond. “While we think we are being productive, this often leaves us with many half-finished documents or tasks at the end of the day.”

Use your tools

“As we return to office, we need to leverage the advantages of working in person when it comes to collaboration and organization,” says Maggie Clark, Senior Manager, LOB Strategy Business Essentials at Staples Professional. Clark recommends making use of organizational materials like a large-format wall calendar, colour-coded Post-It notes, and dry erase products such as the Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Desktop Computer Pad or the Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Note Pad.

Make space for breaks

Taking a breather during busy periods may feel counterintuitive, but breaks are essential for regaining focus. “They’re also a way of managing stress and some of the emotional ‘drama’ we sometimes experience or are witness to in the workplace,” says Hammond. A five-minute walk without checking emails, a coffee break in fresh air, or lunch away from the computer can make a world of difference in terms of energy, resilience, and productivity.

Practice flexible thinking when ordering supplies

With many employees still working from home or using a hybrid working model, it can be challenging to order and purchase office supplies. This process might look different now than in the past, says Hammond, and office admins should shift accordingly. “Some purchasers are finding that they need to change their strategy to be more short-term and focused on the rapidly changing workplace,” Hammond says. “Keeping in touch with leaders around current and projected needs is a strategy that can help you make your best buying decisions.” If you’re still in the process of making purchases to support the shift to hybrid, Clark suggests stocking up on items like pens, markers, notebooks and Post-It notes so that everyone has their own products that they can carry to meetings and stay organized.

The hybrid model might come with its initial complications, but mastering time management can aid in ensuring a successful transition back to office.

Learn how Staples Professional’s Premium Membership program can help you save time, money and streamline your ordering.

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